Given his recent negative press, Lance Armstrong will not participate in The Florida Forum as scheduled. The annual speaker series, organized by the Women's Board of Wolfson Children's Hospital, replaced Armstrong with NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who appears at the Florida Theatre on March 4. According to a hospital spokesperson, it was a "mutual decision."
While some folks may be disappointed at the change in line-up, others may not even notice since the two have so much in common. For instance …
1. Both changed their birth names: Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.; Armstrong was born Lance Edward Gunderson.
2. Jabbar and Armstrong have had books on The New York Times best-seller list: Giant Steps and It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, respectively.
3. Both follow Tony Hawk on Twitter.
4. They've been the subjects of songs: Pearl Jam's "Sweet Lew" about Abdul-Jabbar and Sheryl Crow's "Wildflower" about Armstrong.
5. Each survived cancer: Jabbar, chronic myeloid leukemia, and Armstrong, testicular, lung and brain cancer.
6. They practice yoga.
7. Both started their own charitable organizations: Jabbar's Skyhook Foundation connects under-served youth with mentors to achieve their academic aspirations and Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Foundation empowers the cancer community to address the unmet needs of cancer survivors.
8. Each has five kids.
9. Both have appeared in highly-popular comedy films: Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane and Armstrong in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
10. Each received an honorary degree: Abdul-Jabbar, an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the New York Institute of Technology, and Armstrong, an honorary doctorate of letters from Tufts University (Armstrong's has since been revoked).
Let's just hope Armstrong remembers his gig was canceled and doesn't show up. …